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Historical Fiction

vaulted cellarHistory has always been one of my favorite topics.

In college, I started out as a double major in English: Creative Writing and History with an emphasis on European History. That didn’t end up happening since I was so ready to be done with school. Knowing how helpful the time I’ve spent learning from Romance Writers of America and the internet has been, I wish I’d gone with the History major instead.

But I digress.

I’ve always loved historical romance novels and historical fiction. At one point, I didn’t feel comfortable writing them and the level of research that go into something like that. They still do intimidate me, even though I’ve written a fantasy romance series set in medieval Ireland, a Wild West paranormal romance novella, and co-wrote an urban fantasy romance that takes place in an alternate reality Ireland.

Regardless, I sincerely admire authors who write them. I’ve accepted that paranormal romance and urban fantasy placed in contemporary times is more my forte.

Anyways.

My favorite historical time period and location is Dark Ages and Medieval Europe, particularly in Scandinavia (Vikings!) and the UK and Ireland. So many fascinating things happened, and I love reading about mythology. When my husband and I have traveled, we always try to hit the museums.

There’s also ancient Greece and Rome. I’ve read a couple of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books that incorporate that time period, which were really cool.

I’m very passionate about history. Surprisingly, it’s been a while since I’ve read a historical romance or fiction. That genre is on my TBR list this year, though, since I’m challenging myself to read wide.

What are your favorite time periods to read about? Do you have favorite time periods you don’t feel are represented enough in fiction?

Leave a comment. I’d love to know what you think!

Until next week,

Sarah

Books I’ve Read this Month

I hope everyone is having a Happy Monday! So, I was doing Meme Monday, but I’m not crazy about keeping that going. Instead, I decided that since I want to do more reading this year, that maybe the last Monday of the month I can talk about the books I’ve read in that month. So, here goes!

First of all, this has been an odd month for me. Normally, I don’t read this many books in a given month, but it just turned out that way, and I’ve really enjoyed the time spent reading.

1st book – Stolen by Kelley Armstrong (Horror & Urban Fantasy Challenge): Wow, I only read Bitten last month, and I adored it. So I grabbed it the next book as soon as I could. I love Elena and Clay. I’m looking forward to more information on Paige, but the werewolves rock in this! This book was action packed, and I seriously wondered on occasion how Elena would ever get herself out of her predicament. I really enjoyed it. (Side note: I did start it at the end of December, but since I finished it in January it counts. lol) 5 stars.

2nd book – Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (Horror & Urban Fantasy Challenge): I love Harry Dresden. I wish the TV show wouldn’t have been cancelled before it had gotten off the ground, but ah well… I thought the first book was amazing. This book was really cool as well, but I thought it wasn’t as awesome as the first one. Still gets a 4 star rating though. I love that it dealt with werewolves since I’m totally a werewolf fan.

3rd book – Dark Lies by Vivi Anna (Speculative Romance Challenge): I have to be honest. With this book, I’ve had it for a while and when I picked it up, I didn’t realize it was book 2 in a series. I’m a stickler for reading series in order. If I haven’t read the first one, etc., I won’t read a book even if I want to unless I’m caught up. I didn’t track down the first book here, I decided to pick it up and read it since I’d started it a few years ago and then got sidetracked. I didn’t feel like I was lost having not read the first book here. I appreciated that. It also had an interesting plot. Although, the villain isn’t handled fully but a minor villain is, so I think he’s either in all the books or some more. I’m not sure. It was a good book though. I’m glad I finally read it. 4 stars.

4th book – Hexed Anthology (Horror & Urban Fantasy Challenge): I read Magic Dreams by Ilona Andrews and Ice Shards by Yasmine Galenorn in this book. I’m not going to read the other novellas, yet at least. I’m in the process of reading the Anna Strong books (just picked up book 2 from the library), so I’d prefer to read it when I get to that point in the series.

Magic Dreams by Ilona Andrews – 5 stars. I absolutely loved it! I love Ilona Andrews, but I wasn’t completely sure how I would like a Dali/Jim story since I adore Kate/Curran. But this was SO good. I’d totally want to read a full Dali/Jim novel now.

Ice Shards by Yasmine Galenorn – 4 stars. I really enjoyed this story. I mostly read it because it had the Finnish element to it, and I love Finland. This was different than something I would normally read. Felt very fantasy-ish. I hadn’t read the other books in the series, but I didn’t feel clueless about what was going on. In fact, it made me want to read the other books.

Overall, I’d give the book 4.5 stars. Easy to figure out since I’d read two of the stories. lol

Currently Reading – Touch of Darkness by CT Adams and Cathy Clamp (Speculative Romance Challenge): I started this book in June of last year, but my time with it since I checked it out at the library expired, so I decided recently to get it off my “Currently Reading” and finally finish the series (hence I re-checked it out). I’ll tell what I think about it next month since that’s most likely when I’ll have finished reading it. 🙂

So, what have you read this month?

Horror & Urban Fantasy 2011 Reading Challenge

Edit: So I didn’t do great this year. There’s always next year!

Okay, so here’s my list. As with the Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge last year, I’ll be updating this as I complete new novels, which won’t begin until 2011. But I can’t wait! Let me know if you’re participating as well.

To Be Read:

  1. Dark and Stormy Knights Anthology
  2. On the Prowl Anthology
  3. Touch of Darkness by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
  4. On The Edge by Ilona Andrews
  5. Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews
  6. Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
  7. Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs
  8. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
  9. Hunt the Moon by Karen Chance
  10. Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
  11. Blood Noir by Laurell K. Hamilton
  12. The Burning Times by Jeanne Kalogridis
  13. Blood Drive by Jeanne C. Stein
Completed (in order of read):

  1. Dancing with Werewolves by Carole Nelson Douglas
  2. Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
  3. The Harlequin by Laurell K. Hamilton
  4. Vampires and Other Monstrous Creatures by Julius Pemberton-Smythe
  5. Night Life by Rob Thurman
  6. Storm Front by Jim Butcher
  7. WebMage by Kelly McCullough
  8. Touch of Madness by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
  9. Something from the Nightside by Simon R. Green
  10. Strange Candy by Laurell K. Hamilton
  11. Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

A New Reading Challenge on the Horizon

Okay, so I had a plan to broaden my reading to step outside of urban fantasy and work on some of the many other genres of romance books I have. Contemporary romances, historical romances, romantic suspenses, etc. Guess I’m doing the exact opposite of that! I found this other awesome reading challenge hosted by http://www.bookchickcity.com that I can’t resist. This year, I’ve been participating in the Speculative Fiction reading challenge, which worked nicely since I read quite a few paranormal romances, a romance with steampunk elements, a dystopian, a horror, and, of course, urban fantasies. I read some new authors, and so this year, I’ll probably read the new releases by my favorites as well as delve into older ones by authors I found and liked this year. Woo!

The button is on the side with the sexy, redheaded vampire. If you’d like to sign up, go to http://www.bookchickcity.com/2010/11/sign-up-horror-urban-fantasy-reading.html.

I’ll put up the beginnings of my reading list in a day or so!

Wow!

Okay, I have to share this! I saw Resident Evil: Afterlife in 3D IMAX today! It was so awesome. Wentworth Miller as Chris Redfield was great eye candy, and the action… wow! I haven’t seen too many 3D movies (My Bloody Valentine 3D was the last one), but this is definitely one to catch on the big screen and in 3D.

I also really enjoyed that aspects of the Resident Evil 5 game were included in the movie. My husband and I grinned at each other a few times during the movie. I think once we get settled into our new place, we’ll definitely be playing it again. In addition to that, we’ll be watching what we missed of Prison Break since our TV watching faded half-way through the show, which we both enjoyed, especially now that we have Netflix.

My only other news is that I finished reading The Ultimate Dracula Anthology by Byron Preiss. Someone had bought it for me a long time ago, but only picked it up now because my husband started reading it. For a book called The Ultimate Dracula, it sure didn’t have many stories focusing on Dracula. Some were just plain and simple vampire stories. Not many of them were any good.

Speculative Fiction 2010 Reading Challenge

Here is the list of books I’ve read for the Speculative Fiction reading challenge as well as the tentative list of what I’ve planned to carry me through the rest. I’ll update it as I complete new novels.

To Be Read:

Completed (in order of read):

  1. Between Light and Dark by Elissa Wilds
  2. Sweet Revenge by Anne Mather*
  3. Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
  4. Kiss Me Deadly by Michele Hauf
  5. Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
  6. A Hunger Like Fire by Greg Stolze
  7. Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
  8. Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur
  9. Must Love Hellhounds Anthology (read Ilona Andrews’ novella)
  10. Embrace the Night by Karen Chance
  11. Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
  12. Shadow Force by Linda Conrad
  13. The Becoming by Jeanne C. Stein
  14. Pride by Rachel Vincent
  15. Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
  16. The Ultimate Dracula Anthology by Byron Preiss
  17. Minion by L.A. Banks
  18. Servant: The Awakening by L.L. Foster
  19. Night Falls Darkly by Kim Lenox
  20. Servant: The Acceptance by L.L. Foster
  21. The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s Guide by J.R. Ward
  22. Prey by Rachel Vincent
  23. Curran by Ilona Andrews
  24. Mischief in the Garage by Liza James*
  25. Curse the Dawn by Karen Chance
  26. Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione
*Non-speculative fiction reads this year.*

A Weekly Update…

So, for now with the pressure of moving, helping with the awesome new fantasy-focused blog Castles & Guns (You should check it out. You know you want to.), and finishing up the remaining chapters of my urban fantasy novel (Yes, still…it’s beginning to drive me crazy.), I’ll be making weekly posts here so that I don’t go absolutely crazy with trying to update it on more than that.

Anyways, I just finished reading Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp. Really good urban fantasy book. At first, I struggled to staying in the novel, but after a few pages, I was hooked. It makes the 14th speculative fiction book I’ve read this year, and 15th book total. Only 10 more spec fiction books until I reach my goal of 24 for the challenge hosted by Book Chick City.

If anyone is interested, here is the list of books I’ve read as well as the tentative list of what I’ve planned to carry me through the rest of the challenge. I’ll update it as I complete new novels. [Edit: I’ll update http://blog.sarahmakela.com/2010/09/speculative-fiction-2010-reading.html as I finish reading new books.]

To Be Read:

  1. Dancing with Werewolves by Carole Nelson Douglas
  2. On the Prowl Anthology
  3. Night Falls Darkly by Kim Lenox
  4. Curse the Dawn by Karen Chance
  5. Tempt Me with Darkness by Shayla Black
  6. Heart Duel by Robin D. Owens
  7. Dead Girls Are Easy by Terri Garey
  8. Minion by L.A. Banks
  9. Servant: The Awakening by L.L. Foster
  10. Watchers in the Night by Jenna Black

Completed (in order of read):

  1. Between Light and Dark by Elissa Wilds
  2. Sweet Revenge by Anne Mather*
  3. Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
  4. Kiss Me Deadly by Michele Hauf
  5. Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
  6. A Hunger Like Fire by Greg Stolze
  7. Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
  8. Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur
  9. Must Love Hellhounds Anthology (read Ilona Andrews’ novella)
  10. Embrace the Night by Karen Chance
  11. Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
  12. Shadow Force by Linda Conrad
  13. The Becoming by Jeanne C. Stein
  14. Pride by Rachel Vincent
  15. Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
*Sweet Revenge by Anne Mather was my non-speculative fiction read this year.*

Another Book Read and New Group Blog

Okay, so I did update Twitter a day ago via Goodreads about this, but I finished reading Pride by Rachel Vincent. I thought it was really good, but it wasn’t quite as awesome as the first two. I’ll definitely read the next book, Prey.

Also, my critique partner and I are starting up a Fantasy/Urban Fantasy (Paranormal Romance is welcome too. =P) group blog! Woo! We’ve been planning it out and working on it for about a week now. All shall be revealed soon though since we’re currently having a custom header made. The posting fun should begin on 8/25/2010. Stay tuned for more information!

7 more days! Ack!

The realization of how close RWA Nationals are just hit me today. Seven more days until the Literacy signing (which I’m going to) and the First Timer’s Orientation (which I’m also going to)! I’m beginning to feel a bit more nervous. I know I’ll have a great time. It’s just that this will be my first Nationals. Eeep! I’ve wanted to go to one for a long time, and now I’m finally taking that opportunity. =)

Well, let’s see… what else has been going on with me? I finished reading Jeanne C. Stein’s The Becoming not long ago. Really good book! I’ll definitely be picking up a copy of her next book.

Also, here’s a fun quiz I just did. *laughs*
The Zombie Bite Calculator
Created by Oatmeal

Now I’m back off to prepare for Nationals!

Accomplished

Woo! I got a lot accomplished yesterday considering the fact that I threw my back out a couple days ago.  Blah…

In the wee hours, I finished reading Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews from the Kate Daniels series, which was such an awesome book.  It has to be one of the best, if not THE best, that I’ve read this year. Then I also finished reading Embrace the Night by Karen Chance from her Cassie Palmer series, which was really good, too. Now I’m currently reading Shadow Force by Linda Conrad.  It’s a little bit of an older book, but it looked good enough to put on my shelf to read this year. =)

I’ve also gotten back on the horse with writing my WIP. I shall finish it by the end of the month. That’s my main goal since next month I’d like to focus on getting myself prepared for Nationals.  I’ve been getting decent word counts each day, and the ideas are starting to flow again.  So I’m going to hang on for the ride.